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Boater Safety

This was featured as part of our Monday segment on Charleston’s 105.5 The Bridge on June 18th, 2018. You can catch us every other Monday morning at 8:15 am ET for the latest law tips and legal news.

Summer is here, which means more and more people are leaving the mainland and hitting the water. With the new season comes new boaters, whether new to the area or to boating in general. During this busy time on the water, it’s important to express to remember and share safe boating practices.

As the amount of water traffic increases, so does the need for boater safety. Below are some important rules to follow when heading out onto the water.

Know What You’re Doing

If you are new to boating and backing a boat down a ramp, practice before you come. Practice during a low traffic time at the boat ramp, or in an empty parking lot. Be prepared so that you don’t hold everyone up or cause an accident at the ramp.

If you’re new to boating or haven’t operated a boat on Charleston’s waters, consider taking a boater safety or boater education course. The SCDNR’s Boater Education course is helpful for new boaters as well as those who need a refresher. Even experienced boaters could use the information as a reminder of the fundamentals of boat safety.

When you’re out on the water, remember to stay alert and keep an eye out for other boats.

Don’t Boat Under the Influence

The movement of water often intensifies the effects of alcohol, making it extremely important to avoid boating under the influence. Like a DUI, the legal limit for a BUI is .08, and you can be charged for boating under the influence. Like on land, make sure you have a sober driver when heading out for a boat day.

Be Prepared

Check to see that everything is working properly before putting your boat in the water. Make sure that the battery cranks, that the engine is working correctly, and that you have plenty of gas.

Being prepared also means having everything you may need with you on board. This includes flotation devices for each party member, ropes, throwables and audible devices such as whistles or horns.

Know how to operate your boat’s ignition safety switch in case of emergencies. You should also always check the weather before heading out onto the water.

Let Someone Know Where You’re Going

Though this rule applies everywhere, it is especially important in Charleston where there are many waterways. From Isle of Palms to Kiawah Island, there’s a large amount of space to be covered. Cell phone service is often spotty on the water, so make sure to let someone know where you plan on going, what route you’re taking, and how long you plan to be on the water.

By following these tips and other safe boating practices, you can ensure a fun, safe summer for you and your family. If you or a loved one is injured this summer, the John Price Law Firm may be able to help. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

From all of us at the John Price Law Firm, we hope you have a safe, fun-filled summer!